A few months ago we had taken a day trip down to Tampa and checked out the Florida Aquarium. To get there we had traveled straight down the dreaded I-4 highway but I remember seeing a few roadside attractions along the way and made a mental note to look into them. This past weekend I decided it was time to check out one of those places.
Dinosaur World is located just off of I-4 about 15 minutes outside of Tampa. As we pulled up we were welcomed by this stone wall covered with dinosaurs that seemed a little cheesy but intriguing at the same time.
After we found a parking spot in the busy lot we headed towards the main building. This is a combination gift shop and entry ticket area. I was actually caught a little off guard as I entered this building.
As I’m sure you would expect nothing less of me I did research online before the visit to see if there were any penny machines here and thankfully there was. However my surprise was that the machine I found just inside the main door was actually a quarter machine.
Luckily I always bring spare change and had just enough to press each of the four designs. When I was young I was obsessed with dinosaurs and would have been able to name most of these without hesitation. However as I’ve gotten older those crazy long names have escaped me. To help me out thankfully these designs included the names of each dino and were of a T-Rex, Brachiosaurus, Velociraptor, and Pteranodon.
These pressed quarters also had a nice design on the back of each coin of a T-Rex and Dinosaur World.
Just beside this machine was a table and basket holding a collection of pressed penny booklets. There was a generic penny passport that had a sticker stating it would hold pressed quarters. The second booklet which I purchased was themed for Dinosaur World but would only hold pressed pennies. That was okay for me since I don’t store my coins in these booklets anyways, but can resist buying these booklets anyways as a separate collection. While I paid for the booklet I also bought our entrance ticket to the park and headed back outside.
As we exited out the back of the gift shop we encountered a large open area with some huge dinosaurs keeping an eye on everyone. These were stationary and not animated at all but the details on them were still pretty amazing. This first area of the park had a lot of picnic tables and signs reserving some of the sections for birthday parties (lucky kids). There was also a dino themed playground, and a fossil hunt area that you could buy a separate ticket to participate with.
We just kept following the path through the park and came to a stone archway that reminded me of the Jurassic Park entrance just much less intimidating. This welcomed us to Dinosaur World.
In this area we were on a raised boardwalk that wound through the thick foliage and trees. There were dinosaurs around each corner and had signage nearby listing their name and some details about them.
We found some mammoths in one area but was surprised they weren’t inside a glacier or other ice age type cavern. But I guess that’s hard to find in the hot Florida weather.
I was a little disappointed that these dinosaurs didn’t move. Some had speakers nearby that would broadcast generic dinosaur roars or noises.
This area of the park had pathways that headed in all different directions but was much larger than I anticipated. There was a lot of walking but thankfully the tall trees overhead gave a lot of nice shade.
Eventually we seemed to have visited with all the different dinosaurs in this area of the park and headed back to the front area to one last section yet to see.
The museum. When we had bought our tickets the nice woman at the counter told us to prepare our daughters for the animatronic dinos inside as they can be scary. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as you can see from the picture above there was another machine to use first.
This machine had three designs all pressed on pennies. This machine did roll the designs a little short on the one end but the finished product wasn’t too bad. The images on the coins included a Brontosaurus, a Dimetrodon, and of course the famous T-Rex. These pressed pennies did not have a back design on them.
Inside the museum the pathway went back and forth hiding the animatronics at the end, but you could hear them making noise. The walls had little windows that displayed different fossils and prehistoric items.
Eventually we made our way to the end where the moving dinosaurs were but to be honest they were pretty tame. My youngest daughter who is just 2 years old ran right up to them and didn’t seem to be bothered by them at all.
They didn’t move much and their sounds much but they were still detailed nicely to make for a fun finale to our visit. After quite a bit of walking and sun shine it was about time we headed back to the modern-day. It was a nice surprise to find two coin press machines here. Dinosaur world was a cute little park and my kids really enjoyed it, but I think it would be difficult to spend an entire day here. I’m sure we will be back to visit some day to visit the dinos and hopefully find some new pressed coins.